Tuesday, 15 June 2010

The Big Doula Guns – Part One

The smell of sausages hung heavy in the air as the vegetarian Doula and her back-up Doula entered the room. I offered herbal tea as a way of making amends. Her sidekick was in a bright orange fleece, possibly the worst clothing crime I can think of, but I put this from my mind as I served up the tap water that they had both requested and we set to business.

I explained that my previous birth wasn’t great. I had wanted a home birth and did most of my 22 hour labour at home. As the pain kicked in, off went the hypnobirthing CD and on went the hardcore ragga. I was getting myself psyched up for battle.

When the midwives arrived I became self conscious, switched off my music and before I knew it, it was all about internal examinations and dilation measurements and whether I was meeting their targets. In the end, my son was born with a little help from the episiotomy fairy, in hospital, while I lay on my back.

It was everything I had been trying to avoid.

I think the cherry on the cake was when the woman, entrusted with the stitching up of my vagina, stuck her finger up my arse without so much as an ‘excuse me’. When I complained I was asked, "Didn't I want her to do a good job?" I just thought that everybody agreed it was common courtesy to knock before you enter, or ask before you shove a digit up someone's anus - but maybe I'm just old-fashioned?

When it was all over I was surprised not to be sat on a polystyrene tray, looking out through some cellophane, on the shelf at Tesco’s, as part of a 2 for £5 deal.

Nothing went seriously wrong, but looking back I was actually having fun up until the midwives arrived. Almost everything I didn’t want to happen, happened, and it wasn’t in the least bit empowering.

This time I want to protect my choices. This time I’m sending in the big guns: The Doulas.

That’s right baby, The Big Doula Guns.

This time, there’s no fucking way I’m setting foot inside a hospital unless I’m on the verge of death. For one thing I want a stiff drink when I’m done. Waiting 48 hours for a shot of rum to ease the post-birth trauma, or a glass of celebratory champagne, is just not fair on a girl.

Secondly, I want my own bed, my own shower, my own peace and quiet, my own choice of food and I don’t want to be waiting endlessly for doctors to come and tell me something I already know: that my baby is fine.

So last night The Doulas stayed for three hours, ate a pound of cherries, a huge bunch of grapes and a large punnet of strawberries. We laughed about the nun/midwife who came to my last birth, to whom I kept apologising as I cursed ‘Jesus Christ!’ thinking that this was better than shouting out “This fucking hurts!”

We discussed my feelings on nipple tweaking (not on your nelly), breastfeeding (unlikely), delivering the placenta naturally (let’s wait and see) and everything in-between. I made it clear in a roundabout way that I was by no means a full on hippy. I don’t need to cook the placenta or get Bushman to cut the cord or lick the vernix off my child or do any kind of special bonding with anybody. I just want to have my baby as naturally as I feel comfortable to, without people prodding and manipulating me unnecessarily.

And for god’s sake, when it’s all over will someone pass me a fucking drink……….

Haven't got a clue what a Doula is? See here.


  1. God I wish I'd done what you're planning on. Although something tells me I might still have ended up having an assisted birth first time round and an emergency c-section second (at what point did I think selecting a very tall man as father of my children was a good idea?). Still, good luck with it - and did you know Noble Savage is actively looking for clients (as a Doula in training) right now?

  2. I'll send you over a crate of something - just let me know when and where!

    LCM x

  3. Second time round is easy and you will be fine with a home birth I'm sure- do give the breast feeding a go - its best for all concerned!

    I had a home birth with number three and whilst i loved being at home I did keep feeling like I ought to "go somewhere" although didnt know where, also felt a bit hostessy with the midwives and kept worrying they were having enough to eat and drink! Having said that my husband enjoyed it most of all, he sat with his feet in the water birthing pool drinking little bottles of stella!

    It was lovely at the end to be tucked up in bed with our baby and a glass of champagne and a bowl of pasta!

    Good luck - enjoy it -you'll be fine xx

  4. Cool. I had great births with mine, thanks to my doulas, who are just amazing. Never give birth without one. Glad to see they are becoming accepted in the UK too. With a straightforward birth your body really does know what to do, and having the doula their to reassure you that everything is going brilliantly, that you are amazing, really helps you get through the agony and maybe if you're lucky earns you a bit of ecstacy too.
    I had mine in hospital, but a progressive one that let me push on a birthing stool, and that didn't bat an eye at the champage being popped shortly after the baby being born.

  5. all I can say is... geeezus! You are my idol (seriously I am in awe)... I can't go there a second time, but will happily don some pom-pom's for encouragement and baseball mit for the safety of your soon to be child if the Doula's fail... x

  6. I love that you are making this happen on your own terms, and that you have a plan. I hope it all happens just as you want.
    (Oh, and you do indeed knock before you enter. Bloody hell!)

  7. ha ha ha - brilliant! I want a doula too, hoping for a homebirth but thi sis my first so who knows...

  8. I can't wait to read about this.

    See my issue with home births for me is:

    There is no place in my home currently clean enough or that I'd ever want to consider cleaning up AFTER a home birth. None. Nada.

    So the hospital seems a good option.